MICHAELA FENGSTAD

Writing about life as it happens, trends in career development and new inspiration

Month: July 2012

The Paradox of the Times We Are Living In

This is one of my favourite poems, written by Octavian Paler.

Translation and adaptation: Michaela Fengstad

 

Historically, the paradox of the times we are living in,is that we have:
Larger buildings but smaller hearts;
Wider highways but narrower minds.
We spend more but we own less,
We buy more but we enjoy less.
We have bigger houses but smaller families,
We have more gadgets but less time.
We have more titles, but less intelligence
More knowledge, but less common sense.
More experts, yet more problems
More medicine, less health.
We drink too much, we smoke too much,
We spend too carelessly,
We laugh too little,
We drive too fast,
We get too angry,
We go to bed too late, we wake up too tired,
We read too little, we watch too much TV but
We seldom pray.
We multiplied our wealth, but we reduced our values.
We talk too much, we rarely love and we hate too often.
We learnt how to earn our existence, but not how to make a living,
We add years to our life but not life to our years.
We reached the moon and back, but we are challenged
when we have to cross the street to meet a neighbour.
We conquered the outer space but not the inner space.
We made bigger things but not better.
We cleaned the air, but polluted the soil.
We got past the atom, but not past our prejudices.
we write more, but we learn less.
We plan more, but we accomplish less.
We learned to hurry but not to wait.
we made more computers: to hold more information,
to produce more than ever copies, but we communicate less and less.
Continue reading

The Newsroom

Last night I watched the first 3 episodes of the new HBO series The Newsroom written by Aaron Sorkin. I enjoyed it very much and found it to be so relevant to the times we are living, where pack journalism and celebrity culture seem to take over the news. I was also quite surprised to read reviews from journalists that tear this show apart. Some of their claims: it is not entirely authentic, lack of humour, too wordy therefore boring, etc… Most of them have missed the point entirely, which prompts me to question even more their credibility and competence.

For the “unauthentic” claims: it is a show meant to entertain not a documentary but, I would definitely love to see life imitating art in this case. The rush of adrenaline and excitement when news break and events unfold under your eyes is real. If you lack it in your newsrooms than you should definitely look for a new job. Sure time is compressed and what would otherwise happen over time, happens within 2 minutes but, again, it is an entertainment show not a documentary.

Lack of humour? Hmmm.. I laughed and I found it quite humorous at times. Sure, not the Jackass or Kathy Griffin type where vulgarities and foul language overtake any content – if any, but witty, subtle humour.

I liked the “too wordy therefore boring” complaint, coming from a few so called journalists. Of course it is boring, the dialogues are long and filled with facts, political and cultural references that if you don’t know, you missed the whole point. In other words, as somebody complained, “the show requires intelligence to comprehend”. And common knowledge I would add. Of course it is boring, no bombs exploding every 5 seconds, no car chases, no spiderman or cat woman or superman dropping by to say hello, no boobs showing or sex talk. You have to actually stay still and pay attention. What a new concept in our short attention/multitasking era when everything has to be idiot proof: directions, documents, lesson plans, thesis, dialogues, communication and so on…

Apparently the women (characters) are too emotional therefore the feminists have already voiced their dislike of the show. I totally relate to both of them. One is young, bright but still looking for her voice, while the other one is a renowned journalist that has just come back from war zone and all she wants is to do news. I can relate to both of them. No, I haven’t been into a war zone, but I do remember being young and shy but willing to prove myself and to try everything possible, idolizing my job and making mistake after mistakes. Still, nobody called me emotional but inexperienced. Coming to Canada, I lost my identity working in the corporate world, trying so hard to follow the rules and to behave in a certain way, but more often than not loosing my cool every time I was passionate about something, forgetting about protocol and chain of command. Therefore I don’t think it is a gender issue but a “being human” one. Plus, a small detail that might have escaped the critics is the power McKenzie has over Will McAvoy, their chemistry and the way she knows how to engage him emotionally before and during each segment. The idea is not new or degrading as some would think. Since the ancient times, behind a strong man, has been a woman but strong women stand alone!

Yes, the show is constantly ranting against Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and the republicans but they have become the standard of poor journalism and substandard knowledge and have provided writers with years of comedy. It is a fact.

I still have a lot to rant about the series and the way the guys and gals we are looking up to give us the real news could not grasp its message but stumbled on details but I will stop here. I might be biased, I don’t know but I will continue to watch the series and get my inspiration from the characters passion and wisdom and hope the show will grow a large fan base.
Talking about, it seems that although most of the critics and journalists savaged the series, there is a large fan base on Twitter that keeps on growing…

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